After Gail and I talked we got ready to begin taking some portraits. I think we are going to use the name Santa Paula Portrait Project. I emailed her all the model release forms I had in English and Spanish. They are in PFD form so it will be difficult to add a header to customize them or to edit them. Need a converter and a longer TO DO list.
I started researching how to use flash and strobe lights. It will be useful to have the flexibility to balance light as needed. I worked through a tutorial on Strobist. Now to practice, practice, practice. One can’t get good at anything by just reading up on it.
My first practice was to shoot the actors in the new play at the Santa Paula Theater Center. The Backstage play is called Tales of the Lost Formicans. It opens Friday. That was humbling. I could not get my chosen camera to sync with my strobe light. I had to run back to my gallery and get my Canon 5D and that worked. My results were not always to my liking. Not that my standards are too high but my technical abilities are too low. It was good practice but in this case I had to get something that worked for sending out with the press releases to be printed in the local papers.
My secret trick for improving marginal images is to use my Topaz filters. That’s a plugin for Photoshop. Some might consider it cheating but it works for me.
This is a photo of one of the actors, Zack McKinley. Shot in RAW, processed with Lightroom, then opened in Photoshop CS5 and then Topaz filter applied. Saved back into Lightroom and then exported two ways. One as about a 5 meg file at 300 ppi for press and one as the jpg you see here. I also had to crop it to 8×10 as that is the size Gail and I are using for the “Head Shot” portion of SPPP.
There’s a lot more to the SPPP than just taking portraits.